Jack Kerouac’s On The Road - The Spiritual Quest, the Search for Self and Identity

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The Spiritual Quest in On the Road

A disillusioned youth roams the country without truly establishing himself in one of the many cities he falls in love with. In doing so, he manages with the thought or presence of his best friend. What is he searching for? While journeying on the road, Sal Paradise is not searching for a home, a job, or a wife. Instead, he longs for a mental utopia offered by Dean Moriarty. This object of his brotherly love grew up in the streets of America. Through the hardships of continuously being shuffled from city to city, Dean has encompassed what is and what is not important in life. While driving back to Testament in the '49 Hudson, Dean propositions Sal through an appeal to emotion. In passing
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Another critic depicts him as "one manifestation of America's itch to bust loose after the confinements of the Depression and war" (Will 64). Kerouac's characters, especially Sal and Dean, are the rebelling forces against the normal, boring doldrums of the 50's lifestyle. They are the outliers. They are the voices pleading for something more. A community was formed from the overwhelming appeal to "passions for life and the insatiable curiosity about how to live" (McGeory 21). Leading a life without parental guardians constructing a reality for him, Dean learns to depend upon chaos to organize the big picture in his mind. In his quote, Dean sums up the attitude and the qualities needed to enjoy life. No problem is substantial enough to interfere with the balance of the mindset. Do not be afraid of the unknown, for God is continuously protecting and creating. We must acknowledge the value of time, its moments that overcome us, and its capability to easily slip away. Dean guarantees Sal "beyond doubt that everything will be taken care of ... We know America, we're at home; I can go anywhere in America and get what I want because it's the same in every corner, I know the people, I know what they do" (Kerouac 120). Man's strength is derived from his mental well-being alone, not his physical or material stability.

One writer criticized Kerouac's book by stripping Sal of his heroic intentions of
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